Tags ĎAirPlayí

AirServer adds live streaming from iOS apps to YouTube, higher quality mirroring w/ iOS 9’s rewritten AirPlay


With the launch of YouTube Gaming earlier this year, Google’s Twitch competitor that lets users live stream and watch gameplay videos on YouTube, users can now live stream and browse gameplay videos on YouTube from dedicated apps. Google first enabled live streaming the desktop, and today announced plans for Android, but an update to the popular AirServer app is taking advantage of the lack of iOS streaming support by enabling users to live stream directly to YouTube from their iOS devices.

Google does have a YouTube Gaming app or iOS, but it currently only acts as a community-style app for letting users access live streams and recorded gameplay videos from their iPhone or iPad. AirServer, however, tells us it collaborated with YouTube to enable streaming from iOS apps using its mirroring technology:

‚ÄúPeople are already using AirServer to live stream to various sites through third party solutions. We are delighted to provide this feature directly in AirServer in collaboration with YouTube,‚ÄĚ said Pratik Kumar, CEO and founder of App Dynamic. ‚ÄúGamers can now stream their favorite iOS games in real-time while educators providing distance learning will also benefit from the new streaming functionality.‚ÄĚ

And in addition to the YouTube streaming support, AirServer is getting a big overhaul for iOS 9 and OS X El Capitan that takes advantage of Apple‚Äôs rewritten AirPlay protocol. We reported previously that Apple has overhauled its AirPlay technology with iOS 9 allowing for major performance and security improvements with mirroring apps. AirServer confirmed the details in our report and noted that the improved AirPlay protocol has allowed for higher-quality, Retina-level mirroring and recording. Here’s the rundown:

Retina quality mirroring: With the combination of the new Apple TV protocol + iOS 9 devices, we were able to get a much higher resolution over mirroring. The new protocol is also very smart as it communicates the EDID of the screen down to the iOS device so it can optimize the mirroring resolution‚Ķ Ultra high quality recording: With the new high resolution mirroring, we are able to output higher pixels per frame than even QuickTime’s iOS recording feature, which uses a usb-lightning cable. We also support support rotation during recording, which Quicktime does not.

The improved AirPlay protocol also allows for enhanced security and encryption with the updated app. The developer explained that, ‚Äúthe additional AirPlay encryption that we added in this update was always a part of the original design but we are the first to implement it, apart from Apple. People using products other than AirServer or Apple TV are susceptible to network sniffing and can have their personal photos and videos intercepted when sent over AirPlay.‚ÄĚ

And lastly, the updated app introduces El Capitan support with the rewritten AirPlay protocol for streaming video directly from Safari.

The updated AirServer app is available now.

Filed under: Apple TV, Apps, iOS Tagged: AirPlay, airserver, el capitan, gaming, iOS 9, live streaming, OS X, protocol, rewritten, YouTube

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Jordan Kahn

September 17th



9to5Toys Lunch Break: QNAP NAS w/ AirPlay $135, WD 3TB Desktop HDD $90, Kanto Bookshelf Bluetooth speakers $250, more

Keep up with the best gear and deals on the web by signing up for the 9to5Toys Newsletter. Also, be sure to check us out on: Twitter, RSS Feed, Facebook, Google+ and Safari push notifications.

Today’s¬†can‚Äôt miss deals:

QNAP TS-431+-sale-01

QNAP NAS w/ AirPlay: TS-131 1-Bay $135 (Orig. $215), HS-210 2-Bay Fanless $155 (Orig. $289), more


Daily Deals: Western Digital My Book 3TB Hard Drive $90, Canon MAXIFY All-In-One Printer w/ AirPrint $80, more

Kanto YU5 Bluetooth 4.0 Bookshelf Speakers in five colors: $250 shipped (Reg. $350)


The Mega Mac 2015 Bundle: 15 solid Apps including MacBooster 2, Disk Drill Pro & More $25 (Orig. $564)

MacUpdate Bundle: 10 apps including Toast 14, DevonThink, ExpanDrive, Boom, iMazing and more for $50macbook-12-inch-retina-1

Save $100 on Apple’s all-new 12-inch MacBook + extra $50 for students/faculty: 256GB model $1,150 w/ .edu (Reg. $1,299)


Apple is handing out free downloads of Super Hexagon for iPhone and iPad ($3 value)


Giveaway: Schoolhouse Electric makes the clock cool again, $290 value

More new gear from today:


This Star Wars Battlefront Deluxe bundle includes a working Han Solo mini fridge

Games/Apps: LEGO Jurassic World $38, iTunes gift cards 15% off, COD games for Mac 50% off, freebies, more

More deals still alive:

Aukey 13.3-inch Macbook Carrying Bag and Sleeve Case Cover $6.50 Prime shipped (Reg. $13)

Portable Bluetooth Speakers: Bose SoundLink Mini $159 (Orig. $200), Sony SRSX3 $60 (Orig. $140)


App Store Free App of the Week: Infinity Blade III goes free for the very first time (Reg. $7)

New products & more:wilson-x-connected-basketball

Wilson’s X Connected Basketball is a simple shot tracking solution


Sony takes the wraps off a new gold DualShock controller (and other colors too)

Filed under: Tips and Tricks Tagged: 3TB, 9to5Toys, 9to5toys specials, AirPlay, Amazon Gold Box, app deals, coupon code, discounted iTunes gift card, eBay Daily Deals, Fashion, free apps, free shipping, Han Solo, iOS deals, itunes deals, Mac App Bundle, My Book, NAS, New Toy of the Day, playstation 4, QNAP, Star Wars, Star Wars Battlefront, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, WD

Visit 9to5Mac to find more special coverage of Tips and Tricks, 9to5Toys, and free apps.

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Dan DeSilva

September 16th



As Apple plans major AirPlay overhaul for iOS 9 & new Apple TV, mirroring apps must implement workarounds


While Apple hasn’t detailed the changes much publicly, the company is planning what appears to be a major, undocumented overhaul of its AirPlay protocol with iOS 9 that should make the framework for streaming video and audio content between devices a much smoother experience for both users and developers. It is, however, breaking many screen mirroring apps in the process and forcing developers of these apps to scramble to implement workarounds ahead of the launch of iOS 9 on Wednesday and the new Apple TV in the coming weeks.

Perhaps the best example of these apps is Reflector from developer Squirrels. The app utilizes AirPlay to allow cross platform wireless mirroring from mobile devices to Macs, PCs, and other devices with the app installed. The developer first brought the change to our attention and warns that developers will have to follow in its footsteps to implement a workaround that will allow screen mirroring apps to continue functioning after iOS 9 is released…¬†

‚ÄúWhat Apple did this time around with iOS 9 updates is make a wide-sweeping change to underlying protocols that power AirPlay.‚ÄĚ Dave Stanfill, president and CEO of Squirrels explained. ‚ÄúA lot of the pairing setups (like how your mobile device interacts with a receiver) have changed. A lot of the exchanges between an iOS device and an Apple TV or any of the receivers have changed. The actual mechanism through which a mirroring connection is established was entirely overhauled. So, many underlying AirPlay components and protocols are entirely different in iOS 9. Not only at a security level but also with the way the two devices talk to each other.‚ÄĚ

While the changes won’t affect app developers simply using AirPlay APIs for offering users the ability to stream from within an app to an AirPlay device, like an Apple TV on the same network, it will break many screen mirroring apps that tap into the AirPlay protocol for screen sharing apps that are often used in education, enterprise, and within the tech world for things like screen recording and display mirroring to devices not supported by Apple.

Though developers of screen mirroring and streaming apps piggybacking on the protocol will have to implement workarounds to avoid issues with the changes in iOS 9, the overall changes appear to be a move by Apple to vastly improve device pairing and in the process improve the overall AirPlay experience across devices. The developers at Squirrels explained:

We discovered AirPlay has improved security, it‚Äôs faster and it improves overall performance. Using some of the new security features Apple implemented, the whole stack moves a lot faster. It allows for more interesting things like one-time pairing. That means less battery drainage and faster encryption and connection…¬†This protocol is designed from the ground up for existing wifi, wifi direct, AWDL (Apple’s own wifi direct used for AirDrop and other features), Bluetooth, and even USB CarPlay and QuickTime. It is clear Apple sees a future of pairing all of your devices together in one easy to use network.

It‚Äôs possible Apple‚Äôs motivation for the changes to AirPlay and device pairing is¬†related to the Apple TV acting as a hub for remote access to HomeKit products and the new Apple TV‚Äôs support for third-party gaming controllers. But the end result should be an overall improved experience for AirPlay and device pairing with the new Apple TV. “You could pair your iOS device to an Apple TV and never have to go through the full key exchange again. Once it‚Äôs paired, it‚Äôs paired,” the Squirrels developers explained, “Apple set the underlying foundation to ‚Äúset-it and forget-it pairing” whether it be with your car, a set-top box in the living room, that sort of thing. That‚Äôs the fundamental reason they changed that protocol, we think.”

After implementing a workaround for the changes, for which Apple hasn’t released any documentation to developers, the result is a Reflector app with significant¬†performance improvements, the developers told me.¬†But until developers implement a workaround on their own, users that heavily rely on a similar screen mirroring app for iOS should consider holding off on updating until the app has updated for iOS 9.

iOS 9 is scheduled for release on September 16.


Filed under: iOS Tagged: AirPlay, Apple TV, iOS 9, mirroring

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Jordan Kahn

September 11th



Review: Moshi’s Spatia brings timeless design to a large, decor-worthy AirPlay speaker

Moshi Spatia

Apple’s AirPlay wireless audio protocol didn’t really take off¬†in standalone speakers, but that doesn’t mean every¬†company has abandoned¬†it.¬†Moshi’s Spatia, which recently launched after first being unveiled at CES 2015, relies on¬†AirPlay¬†for wirelessly streaming and playing audio from iTunes and iOS devices.¬†Spatia packs five dedicated drivers and two amplifiers behind a fabric speaker cover to deliver impressive sound within a¬†standout design. AirPlay has some well-known benefits and issues, so is it worth investing $399 in a speaker that depends on Apple’s¬†sometimes-shaky technology?

Key Details:

  • AirPlay easily connects Spatia to iTunes or iOS devices for wireless audio playback
  • Supports Wi-Fi Direct + AUX, but lacks Bluetooth
  • Chic design stands out from mostly black boxy alternatives
  • 3-year warranty
Moshi Spatia Top Moshi Spatia Side

Spatia’s exterior design is a major part of its¬†story. The fabric speaker cover and oak veneer panel feel like a throwback to classic speakers from earlier decades, without clashing against the plastic chrome pedestal and curved black shell. Spatia is meant to fit in with modern decor and contrast with¬†boring black box speakers, succeeding at both. Even when no music was coming out of Spatia, I personally found it¬†to be pleasant as an design object.

Compared to small portable Bluetooth speakers, Spatia is a bit heftier¬†than photos may suggest. Measuring¬†19.57″x 7.2″x 7.64″ and weighing in at 7.27 pounds, Spatia packs serious¬†speakers within a solid¬†package. Its wide profile enables it to be carried mostly between rooms rather than from indoors to outdoors, with the only issue being the need for a power outlet. A spinning¬†knob on top controls volume levels, while clicking the large black button toggles Spatia between its three audio modes: Wi-Fi Direct, AirPlay, and AUX.

Moshi Spatia Control

What’s inside Spatia’s stylish design is equally important. iTunes and iOS devices can connect wirelessly over Wi-Fi using AirPlay, and non-Apple devices can use Wi-Fi Direct (which has its limits) for wireless audio playback or¬†AUX for wired. You won’t find any Bluetooth support here.

I’m no audiophile, but I found Spatia’s speaker system to deliver acceptable sound for a speaker of its size and class. It has enough volume¬†for my 2-year-old to tell me it was “too loud” when maxed out, and is definitely more powerful than something like Jawbone’s Big Jambox, but it won’t shake your furniture or vibrate off the table.¬†Moshi’s Apple-like product video for Spatia gives you a look at what’s within.

Setting¬†Spatia up for the first time was fairly easy. This was my first time testing an AirPlay speaker (aside from AirPort Express-connected speakers), so I wasn’t completely sure what to expect. Spatia joined my Wi-Fi network within seconds after connecting it using a self-supplied Lightning cable to my iPhone and saying OK to an on-screen prompt for¬†sharing network settings. The Lightning cable connects under the backside where a USB port and AUX input are hidden out of sight. Moshi’s¬†power cable also runs underneath, cleverly tucking into the base similar to old corded telephones.

This setup process is a one-time task per Wi-Fi network. Comparing the setup process alone, I prefer AirPlay to Bluetooth which requires pairing with each individual device before first use. iOS is getting better at how it manages Bluetooth devices, but I also find it easier to disconnect from AirPlay versus Bluetooth.

Moshi Spatia ports Moshi Spatia AUX USB

AirPlay has fairly earned its¬†reputation for not being rock solid in streaming performance. My experience with AirPlay before now has been strictly Apple device to Apple device streaming: Mac¬†to AirPort Express, iPhone or iPad to Apple TV, and every combination possible. Moshi rightly warns of AirPlay’s two-second latency between playing or¬†pausing tracks and skipping between selections, recommending the AUX input for a wired connection¬†to experience perfect playback.

The issues with AirPlay¬†aren’t limited to a couple seconds of latency before initiating playback; even direct Apple-to-Apple AirPlay experiences this. I experienced multiple instances of frustrating, half-second dropouts regularly during testing.¬†Had my colleague Jeremy Horwitz not described this side effect of using AirPlay speakers beforehand based on his experience testing similar speakers over the years, I likely would have assumed the turbulence¬†was limited to Moshi or even this specific unit, and not an expected issue when using Apple to non-Apple implementations of AirPlay. In other words, if you’ve previously had good or bad experiences with other AirPlay gear, Spatia’s performance won’t surprise you.


Given the setup convenience and fact that AirPlay is baked into millions of mobile devices plus iTunes, Apple should really invest into perfecting AirPlay as an audio streaming protocol. Apple Music, the company’s new streaming music service,¬†would greatly benefit, as would any other service with an audio component.

There’s also the issue by design of not being able to work with non-Apple devices like Android smartphones and tablets. Wi-Fi Direct enables these devices to stream audio wirelessly and even iPhones and iPads can use this connection if a Wi-Fi network isn’t available, but you won’t be able to connect to another Wi-Fi network to stream with Spotify or Apple Music using this method. It’s ideal for playing offline content in the rare occasion that a Wi-Fi network is unavailable.

Hiccups aside, AirPlay¬†extends¬†wireless playback range to your Wi-Fi network’s range. I appreciated not experiencing¬†range anxiety that¬†I tend to have¬†with Bluetooth speakers, most of which are limited to 30 to 60 feet from the broadcasting device. When I play music through a Bluetooth speaker, I often leave my phone in the same room to avoid disconnecting and interrupting playback if¬†I walk too far away. But using AirPlay with Spatia, I was easily able to walk in and out of rooms throughout¬†my house and even walk around the¬†outside¬†without stopping playback through Spatia because of range. (I use the latest AirPort Extreme tower plus the flat AirPort Express¬†to extend my network so the increased¬†range is very convenient.)

Moshi Spatia iPad

After initially connecting Spatia to my Wi-Fi network using my iPhone, it was dead simple to connect and disconnect my iPad and Macs to Spatia for nearly instant use. Bluetooth speakers are platform-agnostic (and can pair with Apple Watch) plus tend to include rechargeable batteries for more portable use, but AirPlay speakers like Spatia enable less technically savvy users to easily connect their iPhones and iPads and join in on audio streaming.

Spatia app 4 Spatia app 1 Spatia app 2 Spatia app 3

Spatia can optionally be controlled and managed by¬†Moshi’s Spatia Speaker App for iPhone. This offers four features: setting pre-set and custom equalizer preferences, changing the volume with a virtual knob, playing a variety of ambient noise selections, and managing settings for the speaker. The app only adds to the experience so it’s hard to knock it, but its lack of iPhone 6 optimization and questionable design elements are out of step from an otherwise attractive speaker.

Audiophiles would likely disapprove¬†but I appreciated the ‘bass boost’ EQ preset, which makes Spatia sound more like bass-focused Beats headphones and speakers while still delivering enough treble to not sound washed out… to me. More savvy users will likely enjoy the custom EQ setting although the standard EQ setting sounds fine.¬†The virtual volume knob mirrors even the LED lit level indicator found at the top of the speaker, however,¬†Spatia matches the connected device’s volume, and can also be controlled by iPhone hardware buttons.

The ambient noise feature is a neat use for Spatia when you’re not playing music: it includes nature sounds and even a white noise generator. Moshi’s app includes a timer for running the noise maker for a set amount of time, and can actually be useful with or without the Spatia speaker connected. Aside from setting the speaker’s EQ, the last tab is perhaps the most useful as it lets you assign a unique name to the speaker that changes how it appears in the AirPlay menu, update Spatia’s¬†firmware as needed, toggle the LED status light and Moshi branding light off or on, and reset it to factory settings if needed.

Moshi Spatia 1

Should you buy Moshi Spatia? Well, it arrives at an interesting time for AirPlay speakers.

It carries a premium $400 price tag that’s much higher to¬†comparable¬†AirPlay speakers that have since been discontinued and heavily discounted to even sub-$100 prices. Sonically, it performs fine for a large room or small apartment, but¬†doesn’t deliver¬†dramatically louder or better audio than the latest high-end portable Bluetooth speakers.

Spatia’s attractive¬†design is the big differentiator here, of course,¬†as it features arguably the best design for a $400 AirPlay speaker. Jump $100 higher in price, though, and you can add optional¬†Bluetooth connectivity to the mix with Libratone’s also attractive Loop speaker¬†(currently street price is actually cheaper), or add another¬†$600 for Bang & Olufsen’s upcoming wool-covered high end AirPlay + Bluetooth A6 BeoPlay speaker.

If Spatia included Bluetooth connectivity for wider compatibility¬†and maybe even¬†a rechargeable battery for¬†portable use, it’d be an instant recommendation. In its current shape, Spatia is a respectable AirPlay speaker that innovates more in design than functionality. Decide for yourself if an AirPlay-only, wired speaker is right for you, but Spatia is worth consideration for its design alone if so.

iOS + iTunes

Filed under: Reviews Tagged: AirPlay, iTunes, Moshi, Moshi Spatia, Spatia, speakers

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Zac Hall

September 8th



iPhone 6S camera: 12 megapixel photos, 4K video recording, flash for selfies


One of the marquee upgrades to the iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus will be a major revamp to the camera system.¬†For the first time since the iPhone 4S launch in 2011, the iPhone camera’s megapixel count will be upgraded: Apple will be moving from an 8-megapixel sensor to a custom¬†imager billed as¬†12-megapixels¬†in both of the new iPhones, according to sources. The 12-megapixel camera will mean that the new iPhones will be able to take larger, higher-resolution photos than before. Because of an upgraded image signal processor that comes as part of the new A9 system-on-a-chip, the new sensor¬†will not wash out or otherwise decrease the quality of photos, according to sources.

In addition to a much-upgraded rear still camera, Apple has decided to¬†make¬†a significant addition to the iPhone’s video recording capabilities: 4K video recording support. The iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus will be the first iPhones capable of recording video in full 4K resolution and among¬†the first phones on the market with such capabilities, though¬†Samsung’s Galaxy S5 launched with 4K video recording support in early 2014. The benefits of 4K video recording include compatibility with the latest consumer television sets, improved stability and clarity, as well as benefits during post-production editing. Apple is likely to highlight 4K as one of the new iPhone’s premier additions for marketing purposes.

4K Video Recording Sample from the Galaxy S5

Besides new camera hardware on the rear of the new iPhone, we are told that the front FaceTime camera will also see significant improvements. In addition to¬†an upgraded sensor for higher quality video calls and selfies, Apple will indeed add front flash support. While some industry watchers have speculated that code in iOS 9 betas indicates that Apple will add a front-facing LED flash to the new iPhones, sources say that is not the case. Instead, the new iPhone’s display will take cues from Snapchat and Photo Booth, lighting up with a quick white screen when the shutter button for the front camera is pressed. Front-facing panorama shots and slow motion video in 720P are also likely to make it to the front camera this fall.

We reported earlier this year that Apple had been testing 4K video recording support for this year’s iPhone upgrade, while earlier reports out of the supply chain also indicated that the new iPhone could receive a 12-megapixel camera sensor. It’s unclear whether the sensor is actually 12-megapixel native, or a 13-megapixel sensor cropped for digital image stabilization purposes. Besides an overhauled camera system on the front and back, the new iPhone will include a Force Touch display focused on shortcutting features around iOS 9, new Apple Watch-like animated wallpapers¬†for an enhanced user interface, a faster A9 processor¬†with improved graphics for gaming and displaying video content, and more efficient Qualcomm-built cellular chips. Apple will announce the new iPhones alongside the next-generation Apple TV at an event in San Francisco on September 9th.

Filed under: iOS, iOS Devices Tagged: 12 megapixels, 12" iPad, 240-fps Slow-mo, 4k, AAPL Company, AirPlay, Apple TV, Camera, iOS 9, iphone 6s, iphone 6s plus, leak, Panorama, sensor, Sony, Video Recording

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Mark Gurman

August 27th



Opinion: With Apple Music launched, it’s time for Apple to show AirPlay some love


I love AirPlay. It’s simple and elegant. It also means that my elderly but much-loved¬†B&O Ouverture¬†hifi system (with BeoLab 6000 speakers) ‚Äď which is actually so old that it has a cassette deck ‚Äď needed only a low-cost¬†WiFi audio receiver¬†to allow it to wirelessly stream music from my MacBook Pro. One $40 add-on and a 20-year-old hifi became bang up to date in its capabilities.

With my particular setup, AirPlay does exactly what we expect of Apple products: It¬†Just Works. I open iTunes, select ‘B&O’ from the speaker output menu, and anything I play in iTunes ‚Äď whether from my own music library or streamed from Apple Music ‚Äď plays through the hifi, while system sounds continue to play through the Mac speakers. My partner¬†can stream her own music from her iPad or iPhone just as readily.

I’d previously tried a Bluetooth audio receiver, and the difference between that and¬†AirPlay is night and day. No pairing. No¬†worries about distance. No interference when someone walks between the Mac and hifi.¬†No system sounds emerging at deafening volumes though my hifi speakers.

But despite my own happy experience of it, AirPlay is not without its problems¬†…¬†

First, cost. Go looking on apple.com for speakers (not as easy as it used to be since the online store lost its menu item), filter connections by AirPlay and you’re offered¬†only three speakers, ranging in price from $400 to $2700. (Curiously, the two B&W offerings only show up if you search via¬†iPad accessories.)

Things look superficially better if you search on Amazon¬†‚Äď but take a closer look, and almost all the decent-quality AirPlay speakers at affordable prices are discontinued models.¬†There’s an iHome iW1 for $85, for example, but the original price was $300 ‚Äď a pretty steep price for a mid-range portable unit.

Look at anything current, and most models start at $200 and head upwards pretty rapidly from there. Which is fine if it’s the audio quality you’re paying for, but that often doesn’t appear to be the case. Take Logitech as an example. I bought a couple of the early BoomBoxes for the bedroom and bathroom. These streamed music from iTunes via Logitech’s own¬†protocol. When the company launched the AirPlay equivalent, they were almost twice the price.

Whether that cost premium is due to Apple’s licensing terms, or it was just that¬†not enough people know about AirPlay to get production costs down, I don’t know ‚Äď but it has certainly created a downward spiral. Few mass-market consumers know that AirPlay exists, and the high cost of AirPlay hardware means that the standard has never really taken off in the way it deserves to.

The price of AirPlay speakers looks particularly steep when compared to the mass of Bluetooth speakers out there.


Second, reliability. While my own experience, and that of many others, has been excellent,¬†you don’t have to look at many AirPlay speaker reviews to see that¬†not everyone has enjoyed the same flawless experience. The most common complaint is intermittent connectivity dropouts.

I connected and paired them easily enough and they sounded ok when they would work. The problem is that the signal would drop out for minutes¬†at a time […]

The speakers simply do not work consistently, from the iMac or any remote device. This is more than an occassional drop out, which I could learn to live with […]

Others report lengthy delays in speakers responding when switching tracks.

These types of complaint can be found against AirPlay speakers at all price levels, and my colleague Jeremy Horwitz ‚Äď who has reviewed more than his fair share of them ‚Äď said that some companies even resorted to sending out WiFi routers with their review units simply because¬†they’d found ones that were known to work well with AirPlay. A protocol that requires particular routers to work reliably is more than enough evidence that AirPlay needs more work.


Third, AirPlay gets clunky when it comes to anything but the simplest of multi-room setups. There are a variety of approaches you can take, ranging from attaching an Airport Express or Apple TV to each speaker/set, through a number of third-party apps for both Mac and iOS devices. But the famed ease of use of AirPlay often disappears in this kind of setup.

Most multi-room audio systems ‚Äď like those offered by Sonos, Yamaha and others ‚Äď use proprietary systems that lock you into the company’s own hardware¬†and apps. AirPlay, in contrast, is vendor-independent.

There’s a huge opportunity here for Apple to take on these companies by matching the simplicity they offer when it comes to multi-room speaker systems. Using the Apple TV as the hub would seem an obvious move, especially given the newly-expanded¬†role of the device as a HomeKit hub.


You don’t have to take my word for it that AirPlay needs some love: just go searching for newly-launched AirPlay speaker systems. The only company we could find showing¬†one at CES this year was Moshi (watch out for a review by Zac Hall shortly).

Whether it’s manufacturers deciding that AirPlay is too unreliable to invest, or consumers unwilling to pay the price premium for a protocol that doesn’t give them everything they want, clearly there’s an issue.¬†Apple needs to fix the reliability issues that appear to stem from¬†flaws in the protocol itself, license it to manufacturers at a reasonable price and then give it enough PR that mass-market consumers get to know about it.

Apple¬†might object to¬†the idea of reduced license fees, but frankly, AirPlay is dying.¬†Better to get a smaller cut of a growing¬†market than a large slice of a diminishing one. And if Apple wants to make more money from AirPlay, it can do so from its own hardware: along with its purchase of Beats Music, it got a free audio company in Beats Electronics. (Actually, given the relative revenues, it got a free streaming music service with its acquisition of the audio company, but let’s not quibble.)

AirPlay is too good a system to be allowed to wander off quietly into the night. It is infinitely superior to Bluetooth, and doesn’t lock you into a single manufacturer for your audio hardware. With a little love from Apple, it could have a long and profitable future.

As always, take our poll and let us know your own views in the comments.

Images: Bowers & Wilkins

Filed under: AAPL Company, Apple Music, Opinion Tagged: AirPlay, Apple Music, audio, Bluetooth, iTunes, Music, protocol, Sound, speakers, Wi-Fi

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Ben Lovejoy

August 26th



9to5Toys Lunch Break: iPad Air 16GB $300, Samsung EVO 1TB SSD $310, Sony 4K AirPlay Receiver $299, more

Keep up with the best gear and deals on the web by signing up for the 9to5Toys Newsletter. Also, be sure to check us out on: Twitter, RSS Feed, Facebook, Google+ and Safari push notifications.

Today’s¬†can‚Äôt miss deals:


iPad Air in Silver or Space Gray: 16GB $300 (Reg. $399), 32GB $350 (Reg. $449)


Samsung 850 EVO 1TB 2.5-inch Internal Solid-State Drive: $310 shipped (Reg. $350)


Sony 7.2-ch. 4K AV Receiver w/ AirPlay and Bluetooth for $299 shipped (Reg. $400), more

quickres-mac-app-9to5toys-giveaway (1)

QuickRes ‚Äď the app that changes your resolution in a¬†click: 50% off

Apple’s¬†massive iOS sale w/ 100 apps for $0.99 ea: Rayman, Angry Birds, Pixelmator, Spider-Man, many¬†more

App Store Free App of the Week: SpongeBob Moves In ($4 value)

Disney’s award-winning Animated iPad app hits a new all-time low price of $3 (Reg. $10)

Save 50% on the brand new Screenium 3 high-res, high-speed screen capture app for Mac

More new gear from today:

motorola-sb6121-sb6141-dealMotorola Refurb DOCSIS 3.0 Cable Modems: SB6121 $45 (Orig. $100), SB6141 $55 (Orig. $100)


More deals still alive:


iPhone 6/Plus $100 off w/ VZW or Sprint 2-yr contract: 16GB $100, 64GB $200, 128GB $300


iOttie Easy One Touch 2 iPhone car mount: $17 Prime shipped (Reg. $25)

New products & more:


This Lightning cable cleverly solves an annoyance every iPhone user deals with


JBL details new Flip3 & Xtreme portable Bluetooth speakers w/ fresh designs & features


Review: Bang & Olufsen Beolit 15 Bluetooth speaker

Review: DODOcase Apple Watch Charging Stand

Review: SanDisk Connect Wireless Stic

Filed under: Tips and Tricks Tagged: 850 EVO, 9to5Toys, AirPlay, Amazon, app deals, Best Buy, Daily Deals, free apps, Gold Box, ipad air, Solid-state drive, video games

For more news on Tips and Tricks, 9to5Toys, and Daily Deals continue reading at 9to5Mac.

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Justin Kahn

July 27th



9to5Toys Lunch Break: ChugPlug MacBook battery $49, Mophie iPhone 6 case $70, Bluetooth keyboard $15, more

Keep up with the best gear and deals on the web by signing up for the 9to5Toys Newsletter. Also, be sure to check us out on: Twitter, RSS Feed, Facebook, Google+ and Safari push notifications.

Today’s¬†can‚Äôt miss deals:


Lenmar ChugPlug external battery for MacBook Air and MacBook Pro $49 (Orig. $200)

Mophie iPhone 6:Plus Juice Pack

Mophie Juice Pack battery case (multiple colors): iPhone 6 $70 (Reg. $100), iPhone 6 Plus $80 (Reg. $100)


SHARKK Aluminum Bluetooth Keyboard $15 (Reg. $40), more


Ondesoft Mac Bundle with X-Mirage, iTunes Converter, Audiobook Converter and more: free ($146 value)

The Big Deal photography bundle with training tools, memberships for $99 ($4,000+ value)


$50 iTunes gift card for $40 shipped

iTunes cards buy one, get one 30% off at Target, email delivery or 10% off at Best Buy

Restaurant and apparel gift cards 20% off: JCPenney, T.G.I. Friday’s, Legal Seafood, Steak n’ Shake, Jiffy Lube, more


Quick Review: Kano’s Raspberry Pi 2 computer kit shines as a learning tool for kids and DIYers alike

More new gear from today:


Yamaha 7.2-channel Wi-Fi AV Receiver with AirPlay + Bluetooth $450 shipped (Orig. $850)


Games/Apps: 1 Password for Mac $35, DA Inquisition $30, Trine $2, more

More deals still alive:


Timbuk2 30% off sitewide: Command Messenger Bag 2015 $97 (Reg. $149), much more


Keep your Wi-Fi and iPhone running during a power outage w/ APC’s Back-UPS Connect for $48 shipped (Orig. $80)

New products & more:dodocase-apple-watch-9to5toys-giveaway

Giveaway: The DODOcase $80 Apple Watch and iPhone charging solution stands out amongst the rest

The Last Guardian E3 2015

E3 2015: Sony shows Last Guardian, Final Fantasy VII remake, Uncharted 4, Star Wars, more

E3 2015: Microsoft unveils new hardware, 360 compatibility + Forza 6, Halo 5, more

E3 2015: Bethesda’s real life Pip Boy for iPhone/Android, Dishonored 2, Doom, more

E3 2015: Xbox Live Gold Members can enjoy EA Access for free this week


Belkin is set to take on Philips Hue with its new WeMo smart home LED bundles

Filed under: Tips and Tricks Tagged: 1 Password, 9to5Toys, AirPlay, Amazon, app deals, Best Buy, bluetooth keyboard, ChugPlug external battery, Daily Deals, free apps, Gold Box, iPhone 6/Plus, Mophie Juice Pack, video games

Continue reading more about Tips and Tricks, 9to5Toys, and Daily Deals at 9to5Mac.

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Justin Kahn

June 16th



Google Docs ‚ÄėSlides‚Äô app updated with AirPlay and Chromecast support

Show up, don't set up: Google Slides supports Chromecast and AirPlay - YouTube 2015-06-11 12-28-44

Google announced today that it updated its Slides app, available for Android and iOS, to both support Google Cast and AirPlay. The update comes following the announcement of the Remote Display API that Google showed off at its I/O developers conference at the end of June, which allows developers to present more intricate applications and games on a remote screen.

After you’ve used the new app to cast your presentation to an AirPlay or Chromecast device, you can use your phone as a remote and control the slides being presented on the big screen. Within the smartphone app, you can also keep your eye on your notes and¬†make sure your presentation stays¬†in line¬†using the app’s timer‚ÄĒall over the air. And you can cast from a tab in Chrome on the desktop, too.

When you‚Äôre up on the big screen, you can use your smaller screen to advance slides, view speaker notes and stay on track with a built-in timer. This way you can focus more on telling your story and engaging your audience…instead of on logistics.

You can find the Slides app on both the Play Store and the App Store, and the update should be rolling out momentarily.

Filed under: Apps Tagged: AirPlay, app, Google Docs, Slides, update

Check out 9to5Mac for more breaking coverage of Apps, update, and app.

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Stephen Hall

June 11th



Opinion: These were the 10 game-changing WWDC 2015 announcements

Screen Shot 2015-06-09 at 4.35.19 PM

There were so many announcements during the WWDC keynote yesterday that even people who follow Apple for a living (and expected most of the details) were overwhelmed. New versions of iOS, OS X, and watchOS were only three of the biggies, alongside the official debut of Apple Music and a lot of small but interesting new details.

Since the keynote ended, I’ve been sorting through all of the stories, as well as all three new operating systems. What follows are my picks for the ten most game-changing WWDC 2015 announcements, some of them requiring more explanation than others. They’re not in rank order, but there’s definitely one that I thought was the biggest of the bunch. Share your picks in the comments section below…


1. iPad Split-Screen Modes.¬†If I had to pick just one new feature announcement as the biggest game-change at WWDC, it’s what Apple is calling Multitasking — a collection of three different ways to split an iPad’s screen into segments.

Slide Over: A 1/3-screen pane that gives you an elongated iPhone-like view of one app while the other continues to occupy the full screen behind it.

Picture in Picture: Continue to watch a video or make a FaceTime video call while you’re using another app, thanks to a movable, resizable window that can be placed anywhere on the screen.


Split View: Expand the Slide Over pane such that it takes over 1/3 or 1/2 of the screen, leaving the other 2/3 or 1/2 free for the formerly full-screen app. This is only supported on the iPad Air 2, for now.


There are three reasons this is so huge. First, it enables iPads (including iPad minis (!)) to finally start acting like Macs when you want to simultaneously do one thing while monitoring another, or reference one app while working on another. Second, it sets the stage for larger iPads, which would never have made sense with big but single-app displays. And third, because Apple really got the UI right. The feature not only works, but is easy to learn.


2. Proactive Assistant.¬†I don’t know any iOS user who wasn’t (at least quietly) jealous of Google Now’s ability to help Android users plan their¬†days — using information culled from emails and other data, evoking privacy concerns. By bulking up Spotlight search results with location data and information on your routine use of your device, Apple is trying to offer more and better information automatically without crossing into “creepy” territory. From my perspective, Proactive is a lot more limited than Google Now, but anything that makes iOS more useful without having to dig through apps is a plus. Ditto on seeing much-needed search improvements to Spotlight on the Mac.


3. watchOS 2 SDK: A¬†More Capable Apple Watch.¬†Partially because the Apple Watch part of the WWDC keynote¬†seemed like a speedreading exercise, none of the user-facing features Apple added in watchOS 2 really stood out as a game-changer. I’d personally be surprised if any of them convinced a hold-out to get off the fence. But third-party app support is huge, as it opens the door for the Watch to become useful across a million niches that will eventually attract millions of customers.

4. Performance and¬†Battery Boosts.¬†Calling one hour of extra iPhone run time¬†or 1.4x-4x Mac app improvements a “game-changer” might seem like a stretch, but Apple’s basically turning the¬†key reasons people historically upgraded their hardware¬†—¬†speed and better battery life — into software improvements. For free. Who wouldn’t want a peppier, longer-lasting iPhone, or an iPad that¬†can actually handle multitasking without killing its battery?


5. News.¬†Missing from the early iOS 9 beta, the new News app has the potential to be a very big deal. There’s no question that Apple seriously messed up with Newsstand, crippling the feature within iOS 7 and 8, while ignoring publisher cries to properly support them. And cynical people¬†may look at News as little more than an Apple effort to clone Flipboard, potentially monetizing third-party content in exchange for a nicer UI to navigate that content. But the UI is indeed gorgeous, and a lot of publishers will be willing to forget about Newsstand to give it a shot. If Apple pulls News off correctly, it could easily become a daily must-use alternative to RSS readers, Flipboard, and similar apps.

IMG_5019 IMG_5021 IMG_5022

6. Notes.¬†Notes doesn’t get a lot of attention, and it has barely been updated over the years, but it’s one of the very few apps I keep outside of a folder on my main Home screen for immediate access. Apple has seriously bulked it up in iOS 9, adding basic drawing and measurement tools, formatting and checklist tools, the ability to add multimedia content, and a 100% iCloud-based sync engine. Notes just went from “useful” to “crazy useful.”


7. Transit Maps. Again, it might seem like a stretch to call the addition of something arguably small — mass transit directions — a “game-changer,” but this was a huge omission from Apple Maps on the day it launched, and has limited its utility for huge numbers of people in major cities. The more cities Apple adds to Maps’ transit feature, the more widely used¬†the app is likely to become as an everyday point-to-point mapping solution.

8. Apple Music. A lot of people use Spotify and similar music subscription services, enough¬†to have actually made a dent in music sales for both the industry and¬†iTunes Store. I’m not going to tell you that I would sign up for Apple Music myself, or that I found the overall pitch to be compelling, but I haven’t signed up for any competing service either, and wouldn’t for $10 per month. Other people obviously feel otherwise, and having the feature integrated into iOS 9’s Music app, the iTunes Store, and the Apple TV is going to be a very big deal for them.


9. Apple’s New Keyboard Solutions, Including QuickType.¬†This is a big deal that looks like a small deal, but fixing the messed up iOS 7/8 shift key by¬†borrowing the “shift the entire keyboard” feature is a welcome change, and some of the briefly-mentioned iPad keyboard tweaks — support for accessory¬†keyboard shortcuts and swipe-through-the-keyboard gestures — again hint at what Apple’s been planning for a more powerful iPad Pro. The changes themselves mightn’t seem huge, but for a more Mac-like iPad, they have a lot of potential.


10. Safari Quality-Of-Life Improvements.¬†From pinned tabs — being able to keep a Facebook tab perpetually active in the corner — to mute controls for increasingly obnoxious interrupting audio, to AirPlay-to-Apple TV video streaming directly from a Safari tab, Apple is bringing a ton of additional multitasking-like power to Safari. These little tweaks will make the overall browsing experience a lot better for people, and extend the power of web pages into your HDTV¬†in a very Chromecast-like way.

What announcements do you think were the biggest at WWDC yesterday? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!

More From This Author

Check out more of my¬†How-To guides and reviews for 9to5Mac¬†here!¬†I’ve covered a lot of different topics of interest to Mac, iPad, iPhone, iPod, Apple TV, and Apple Watch users.¬†Don‚Äôt forget to click on Older Posts at the bottom of the page to see everything!

Filed under: AAPL Company, Apple Music, Developers, iOS, iOS Devices, Mac, Opinion Tagged: AirPlay, Apple Music, Apple TV, Apple watch, Apple Watch apps, iPad, iPad Pro, iPhone, Mac, multitasking, watchos 2, watchOS 2 SDK, WWDC, WWDC 2015

Continue reading more about AAPL Company, iOS Devices, and iPhone at 9to5Mac.

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Jeremy Horwitz

June 9th


October 2015
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